Devil’s Head Fire Lookout (9,748′) | Pike National Forest
Sedalia, CO | 07/24/19 | 3.04 miles | 939′ gain | Class 1
Now that my brother’s gone back to Wisconsin, I’m trying to get caught up on my blog posts. I have 17 posts in the queue right now, most of which are from our two weeks together, but I’ve already done a hike since he’s gone and I don’t plan on stopping! So you’ll be seeing some extra posts from me this month as I try to catch up so I can start posting in real time again.
For our second day, we headed south to do a bucket list hike of mine, Devil’s Head Fire Lookout. A Facebook video of the tower and its famous stairs would circulate on Facebook every now and again and every time I saw it I wanted to check it out! Nicholas was on board too, especially since it was on the way to another hike he was interested in, and we could knock out two short hikes in one day!
The dirt road in was long and seemed to take forever but eventually we were off on the great trail.
Since we were in the forest most of the way, we couldn’t see the fire lookout, and had no idea if it was just around the next switchback.
It was only 1.5 miles to the tower, but the forested switchbacks seemed to go on forever. Will we ever get there?
We finally came to a flat area called Hell’s Half Acre. The fire watchman lives in a cabin here, and this is where we caught our first glimpse of the lookout! There was a great sign here telling of the history of the lookout and we spent a few minutes reading before we made our final ascent.
The first lookout on Devil’s Head Mountain was built in 1912 by the Forest Service. It was much more rustic than the wonderful lookout that exists today, and I imagine a bit more difficult to get to, as they used a series of ladders instead of stairs. Today, Devil’s Head is the last of the seven original Front Range lookout towers still in use!
The stairs scared me a bit, as I imagined they would. I’m pretty scared of heights, particularly on man-made structures, so I had to really focus on putting one foot in front of the other. But soon after we started, we reached the top!
We were disappointed to find the lookout locked. I’d read that if the watchman is working, you can go inside and look around, and ask questions. Darn it! Oh well, we had fun peeking in the windows and looking at the amazing views. Thousands of these strange flying bugs surrounded the lookout, so we didn’t stay long!
Our descent flew by, and soon we were on the road to Woodland Park for lunch! Google Maps took us a weird back way down 4×4 roads, and it took us much longer than expected to get into town (what the heck Google!?) but after passing only dirt bikes and ATVs for an hour (thank goodness for my Subaru!) we made it! And after lunch we were heading to Vindicator Valley. Stay tuned!